By Jessica Rivelli, Working Women of Tampa Bay
March is a celebration of trailblazing women whose names will forever be inked in the history books. It’s also the month we observe International Women’s Day (March 8), a global day honoring the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Tampa Bay Parenting and Working Women of Tampa have teamed up to salute six extraordinary working moms who successful navigate both work and home.
Although none of these master multi-taskers say they have perfect lives and all of them admit to having dropped the ball more than once, their commitment to their careers, businesses, families and communities is inspiring. Their biggest piece of advice to fellow moms: Surround yourself with like-minded women who understand you, empower you and have your back. This supportive network is the key to keeping your sanity intact and remembering what matters most in life.
Stacie Schaible is an Emmy-nominated anchor of “News Channel Eight Today at 11a.m.” “First at 4” and News Channel 8 at 6 p.m. She just celebrated 18 years at WFLA TV. As a Board Member of the American Heart Association Tampa Bay, she’s helped raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Heart Walk over the last 15 years. It is a cause close to her because of her family history of heart disease and stroke. Her son and daughter keep her very busy. Her 12-year-old daughter, Kaia, plays competitive travel softball and her 16-year-old son, Cade, is just starting his college search. Stacie credits family dinners with no cell phones for helping her stay connected to Kaia and Cade despite her demanding work schedule. Her advice for busy moms is “Try to avoid feeling guilty and just do the best you can. Sometimes work has to take priority and sometimes kids do. And hopefully you have a boss that understands that.”
Jessica Muroff is the CEO for Girl Scouts of West Central Florida which serves nearly 20,000 girls in eight counties. Prior to joining GSWCF in 2015, Jessica began her nonprofit career at Frameworks of Tampa Bay, Inc. where she served as CEO. She is currently a board chair for the Nonprofit Leadership Center of Tampa Bay. She is the proud mother of two Girl Scout daughters, 9-year-old Alex and 12-year-old Danica. She says watching them grow up to become incredible young women is her biggest joy in life. Jessica also runs a parenting blog called The Be Present Project. She explains, “It isn’t necessarily about balance; it is about being present in the moment. Only then can you truly focus on what matters most and enjoy the fulfillment of your relationships with your family and purpose in your work. This doesn’t happen by accident, it takes building the right habits and being committed to boundaries you’ve set for yourself.”
Dr. Kanika Tomalin is the newly-appointed city administrator of St. Petersburg. She recently added the title to her role as deputy mayor where she works in partnership with Mayor Rick Kriseman to advance one of Florida’s largest cities. Prior to being appointed deputy mayor, Dr. Tomalin served as a healthcare executive for Health Management Associates’ 23-hospital Florida Group and the five-county Bayfront Health Network. She is the fifth generation of her family to call St. Petersburg home. She is married to well-known adventurer Terry Tomalin and has two children, 16-year-old Kai and 14-year-old Nia. Kanika loves to travel with her kids. She says the shared experience of exploration and discovery always brings them closer together and gives them a chance to learn new things, not only about the place they’re visiting, but also each other. “I love the adventure of motherhood, the many discoveries that I’m certain my life might have missed without playing such a critical role in the journey of the two awesome souls who chose to come to the world through me.”
Trimeka Benjamin is the CEO of Swim Digital Group. She founded her marketing consulting agency in 2009 after following her dream of becoming an entrepreneur. Prior to Swim, she worked for companies such as NASCAR and regional healthcare systems. Currently, Trimeka serves as board chair for The Spring of Tampa Bay and on the board for the Glazer Children’s Museum. She is also a founding board member of The Women’s Exchange and serves in a leadership position for The Junior League of Tampa. While juggling her career at a successful firm and philanthropic commitments, Trimeka is a proud wife and mother of two boys, 8-year-old Anthony and 3-year-old Christian. “What I love the most about my relationship with my boys is their unconditional love. They love me the same, whether I have a good or bad day at work,” she explains. In fact, her all-time favorite way to spend time with the boys is letting loose with a dance party at home.
Gwynn Davey is the president of ServisFirst Bank Tampa Bay Region. With 29 years of financial experience, she previously served as the Market President of Hillsborough County for Bay Cities Bank and spent time with SouthTrust Bank of Tampa and with various financial institutions in New York City. Gwynn served on the Board of Directors for the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce and has served as Chair and Emcee of their Small Business of the Year Award Committee for seven years. She is the proud mom of five children ranging in ages from 9 to 27, and three grandchildren. Big family dinners at the house are their special time together. “When all the kids and grandkids come over on Sunday, it’s the best!” she shares. “Being a mom reminds me to appreciate the small pleasures in life. There’s nothing like a sleepy hug from one of my children as I walk out the door in the morning.”
Michelle Turman, M.A., CFRE is the founder and president of Catalyst Consulting Services. With over 23 years of nonprofit experience, Michelle has raised over $60 million through her philanthropic efforts. Her community service has included leadership roles on the boards of the Arts Council of Hillsborough County, Suncoast Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Partnership for Philanthropic Planning and Working Women of Tampa Bay. In 2000, Michelle was inducted into the Explorer’s Club for her dedication to underwater exploration and artifact conservation. She is the author of the best-selling book, “Jumping the Queue – Achieving Great Things Before You Are Ready.” In the book, she describes her challenges of being a CEO and a mom to her boys, Matthew and Nicholas. She writes, “There is no such thing as true balance. You must get over your desire for perfection, build your support network and then ask for help.”